News Briefs: Rec and Park cancels SF 420 festival

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday April 3, 2024
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The annual 420 event in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park has been canceled this year. Photo: Courtesy
The annual 420 event in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park has been canceled this year. Photo: Courtesy

What a buzz-kill. Officials with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Sounds Bazaar have announced that this year's 420 festival to celebrate cannabis has been canceled.

Usually held on April 20, which is a Saturday this year, the party for marijuana enthusiasts has in past years drawn crowds to Golden Gate Park's Robin Williams Meadow, including Hippie Hill, for a day of toking, listening to live music, and saluting cannabis culture.

There will be an SF Weed Week that runs April 13-19 at various venues in the city. It includes seven world-class growers releasing seven strains over the course of seven nights. For more information, go to

In a March 26 news release, officials from Rec and Park and Sounds Bazaar, which produces the Golden Gate Park event, cited economic challenges within the cannabis industry, making sponsorships hard to secure, and the city's budget deficit, impacting Rec and Park's ability to cover staffing for the event.

As has been reported, the city is facing a severe budget crunch, with a deficit of about $800 million over the next two fiscal years. That figure could reach $1 billion by 2028, Mayor London Breed has stated. Already, Breed ordered mid-year budget cuts of 10% across the board back in December.

As for the cannabis industry, legal dispensaries continue to fight competition from illegal sellers and high taxes imposed by the state and some local governments. To combat the tax issue, some cities and counties, including San Francisco, have lowered taxes, as MJBiz Daily reported last year.

Add that all up, and it's a bummer for cannabis fans who are used to spending April 20 in Golden Gate Park.

City officials will still activate the park that day by partnering with Volvo Sports to run the "Peace, Love, and Volvo Field Day" volleyball and kickball tournaments at Robin Williams Meadow and Hippie Hill, the release stated. People can sign up to register as a full team, small group, or free agent to be placed on a team. It will celebrate Earth Day. To sign up, click here.

Park officials and 420 organizers stressed there will not be a stage, live music, or cannabis booths at the park this year. They encourage cannabis aficionados to skip the trip and instead celebrate 420 in a place that's special and local to them.

"We understand the disappointment and hope to make it up with a great event next year," stated 420 organizer Alex Aquino. "We encourage everyone to support their local equity brands, dispensaries, and lounges on 420 as we all celebrate plant medicine. Additionally, we are inviting everyone to join us next month at Carnaval San Francisco, May 25-26, as one of SF's longest-running free community cultural events.

"Wherever you go, be safe and be respectful of whatever spaces you occupy," Aquino added.

Health center's Show of Hope

San Francisco Community Health Center will hold its 37th annual gala, Show of Hope, Friday, April 19, beginning with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency, 5 Embarcadero Center.

This year's honorees will be the Ladies of AsiaSF, who will give a special performance, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

AsiaSF, located for 26 years at 201 Ninth Street in the city's South of Market neighborhood, features choreographed cabaret shows with trans performers and Asian fusion meals. It announced earlier this year that it's closing. While it was to have shuttered late last month, the owners recently announced that due to popular demand, its last day would be Sunday, April 28. It's expected to continue as a pop-up venue, as the Bay Area Reporter recently reported. The Ladies of SF will receive the Community Impact Award.

Fauci, long an ally to the HIV/AIDS community, retired from federal service in 2022. In his capacity, he advised U.S. presidents on various health challenges, including AIDS and COVID. He will receive the Health Justice Champion Award.

The gala emcee will be Reggie Aqui, a gay man who's a morning anchor on ABC-7.

According to its website, San Francisco Community Health Center celebrates and attends to the health and wellness of the communities that define San Francisco — immigrant and communities of color, queer, trans, unhoused people, and all of us who are most impacted by oppression — through comprehensive medical, dental, and mental health services.

Tickets for Show of Hope are $350 and the suggested dress is cocktail attire. The event includes dinner, hosted bar, entertainment, and dancing.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

End the Epidemics Day of Action

End the Epidemics, a coalition of organizations in San Francisco working to end HIV, hepatitis C, and sexually transmitted infections, will hold a day of action in Sacramento Tuesday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to an online announcement, advocates from across the state will mobilize to share their stories during a rally on the steps of the state Capitol and in meetings with legislators. Participants will also advocate for increased funding to address the three health crises across the state, though California does have a deficit of at least $73 billion, according to officials.

Those interested in attending the advocacy day should complete a registration form at The deadline to do so is Friday, April 5.

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